approach to improving, protecting and promoting health
acknowledges the influence of the setting, eg hospital,
school or workplace, in which people live, learn, work
and use different services, while recognising the relationship
between the organisation and personal factors. Policy direction
for this approach stems from Investing for Health,
the public health strategy for Northern Ireland.
The hospital provides a vital setting in
which the health of staff, patients and the wider community
can be promoted.
Using the hospital as a setting for the promotion of health
means that a hospital can incorporate into its culture, and
daily work activity, actions which are designed to ensure
that people’s health is promoted and protected as well
as treating their ill health.
originated through the work of the World Health Organization
(WHO) in 1986 and has developed in Northern
Ireland since 1996. As major employers, hospitals are ideally
placed to lead in becoming healthy organisations
that influence the working conditions of staff. As centres
of medicine and care, research and professional development,
hospitals influence a wide range of health professionals,
other health organisations and the general public.
Since the WHO regional network of health promoting hospitals
in Northern Ireland began with a pilot initiative in
Altnagelvin Hospital, 13 hospitals are now part of the
been a real commitment to the development of hospitals
as healthy settings. The
Health Promoting Hospitals Network has enabled participating
to learn from and support each other in this work, and
has proposed the need for a strategy to
further develop support and investment.
Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland has appointed Barbara
Porter who in her role as coordinator of the programme
will develop the policy, information, training and research
enhance and drive the programme forward. In relation to
the promotion of health in hospitals she will work with
hospitals across Northern Ireland to assist them in recognising
their potential as key drivers for health improvement with
their staff, patients, visitors and the wider community.
steering group is being established to develop a regional
strategy that will aim to give direction and purpose to
promoting health in both the broad health and social services
settings and within the hospital setting
while embracing existing policies, strategies, priorities
The Agency has
the Investing for Health Team at the DHSSPS to facilitate
healthy service - supporting health in hospitals
commissioners and employers, the potential of the health
and social services to impact positively on people’s
health is enormous. This has been recognised in the Investing
for Health strategy through a framework for action
to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities
by creating 'supportive environments’ for health.
The hospital sector is one area of our health and social
services structure which is a community resource with a
huge reach of influence. The potential exists therefore
to create an environment that promotes the health of patients,
and those who work in and visit hospitals taking part in
the HPA's programme 'A healthy service'.
aim is to extend this ethos, through existing and new networks,
into action for health among other health services and
facilities in the community. The HPA programme of support
for health in hospitals is set within this framework. Barbara
Porter, as coordinator of the programme, has made links
with counterparts in England and Scotland with a view to
future collaboration in the areas of information sharing,
training and research. “While we are beginning this
programme of work in hospitals, we are learning more about
the potential to extend it across the whole of the health
service, and look to the future.” she said.
1 of the programme 'A
healthy service - supporting health in hospitals' included
the collection of information on existing health improvement
activity in hospitals through a mapping exercise which was
completed in April 2005. The information gathered was compiled
into a database accessible here.